Ok, ok. Here’s a blog about my dayjob: I nanny a 4 year old menace in one of my city’s richest neighborhoods; hilarity ensues. That sort of thing. Let’s keep it anonymous; that’s good for keeping one’s dayjob. We’ll pretend my young charge’s name is Elroy because that’s funny. Oh, and as jobs go, I mostly love my job. That’s important.
So, new blog, this was a big week for head injuries. Elroy hit his head everyday Monday-Wednesday, like go-get-an-ice-pack kind of hit his head. Like, watch for signs of concussion (Monday), apologize that keeping him from running away from the time-out spot led to a head bonk but he’s still in time-out (Tuesday), knock on neighbors-who-are-doctors’ doors for stitches vs butterfly bandages consultation (Wednesday) kind of head-hitting. I’m happy to report that Thursday and Friday were injury-free, and enhanced by an adorable cartoon bandaid and steri-strip situation straddling the bridge of Elroy’s nose. He’s fine, you guys, I’m not a total jerk. I did drink almost all of his hot chocolate today, though.
One time I was taking care of two almost-2 yr-old boys, and I turned around from locking the front door just in time to watch their double stroller roll down the front walk, down half a dozen steps, and smash their foreheads against the sidewalk. (I thought the stroller was fully unfolded but it wasn’t, so when I kicked the brake-stopper into the wheel, it didn’t take.) THAT was the worst. It took me a week or two to be able to talk about it without crying.
Miraculously, the kids were fine; double-miraculously, their parents weren’t upset with me and continued to pay me to take care of their kids. Okay, okay, one of the kids got a little egg on his forehead and a bit of a bruise for a day or two, but he wasn’t afraid of me or the stroller the next day. In fact, and ah, once it was clear that their kids were okay, the parents were really nice to me and tagteam told me all kinds of stories about times when they were responsible for their kids getting hurt, or almost hurt, and how scary and terrible and inevitable it is. Then I called my mom, told her about it, (cried some more,) and my mom told me all about when I was a baby and she let my leg get burned by a hot seatbelt buckle. That made *her* cry, and I told her it was okay, I definitely forgive her.
So besides creating opportunities to do serious early childhood trauma reconciliation work with your parents, here are some other thing can be useful about minor injuries at the childcare workplace:
1. It is useful to know what the register of crying sounds like for when a kid is truly hurt and scared, since kids do a lot of crying just for attention & comfort. I’m down for giving attention and comfort, obvi. It’s just nice to know whether to join them in flipping out.
2. Oh yeah, *that’s* why we told you not to jump on your bed, Elroy. It’s not that we hate fun, we just didn’t want you to bust your face on the clean lines of your contemporary modern new big-kid bed. 20 points for the international adult conspiracy.
3. If the minor injury results in your kiddo looking really cute and a little pathetic, it’s easier to try to be nice and act like a creative, emotionally-grounded grown-up when he’s yelling at you, being shitty to his friends, trying to pull your hair, etc.
4. If you can’t be nice, you can make up funny nicknames like Bandaid-Face or Young Master Bandaid-Face. You can sneak cellphone pictures of Bandaid-Face and send messages to your friends, “This site 0 days without accidents.”
5. Oh yeah. I’ve been meaning to get re-certified in CPR & First Aid. And to invite the other nannies on the playground to come along too. And then talk about what our jobs are like without kids or parents around. And then start a domestic workers union.